As we work to genetically sequence another creature from the extinct past, the reality looms about a Woolly Mammoth’s potential to be in future zoos. This begs to question some ethical issues and what other species we would be tolerant of resurrecting in the same fashion.
With this technology implemented, the biological landscape of the near future would be drastically different from the one we live in now. Imagine a planet populated with our present species and any other we chose in the past 60,000 years. Surreal.
coming to an artificial menagerie near you, perhaps....
Live woolly mammoths could be returned to the Earth for around $10 million dollars, according to scientists working on DNA-sequencing.
The findings suggest that any animal that lived within the last 60,000 years, the effective age limit’ for DNA, could feasibly be resurrected.
Once the DNA is decoded in modern sequencing machines biologists could alter DNA in a suitable living animal – for example an elephant – and each generation can be brought back towards the original DNA until the final stage when an egg could be brought to term in the modern animal.
This will a be a milestone when fully developed, but should be developed in caution. My main concern is second generation technology that could evolve from this, such as self-replicating nano-machines. The notion of terminators in the future may be much smaller than we think…..
A team of biologists and chemists is closing in on bringing non-living matter to life.
It’s not as Frankensteinian as it sounds. Instead, a lab led by Jack Szostak, a molecular biologist at Harvard Medical School, is building simple cell models that can almost be called life.
Szostak’s protocells are built from fatty molecules that can trap bits of nucleic acids that contain the source code for replication. Combined with a process that harnesses external energy from the sun or chemical reactions, they could form a self-replicating, evolving system that satisfies the conditions of life, but isn’t anything like life on earth now, but might represent life as it began or could exist elsewhere in the universe.
While his latest work remains unpublished, Szostak described preliminary new success in getting protocells with genetic information inside them to replicate at the XV International Conference on the Origin of Life in Florence, Italy, last week. The replication isn’t wholly autonomous, so it’s not quite artificial life yet, but it is as close as anyone has ever come to turning chemicals into biological organisms.